Gambling
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25 Crazy Facts You Didn't Know About Casinos & Gambling

Updated September 2, 2020 5.0k votes 819 voters 38.3k views25 items

List RulesVote up the most surprising facts about the fast-paced world of casinos and gambling.

Casinos are a huge source of interesting myths, legends, and stories that almost seem too good to be true. There are tales of tremendous good luck ($25 million from slots?), dubious capitalism (atomic bomb parties?), and disgusting personal hygiene (adult diapers to keep a hot streak going?). Some of the most interesting facts about casinos and gambling come from societies where it isn't allowed, proving that it's hard to keep people from the allure of a potential big win.

Gamblers in Japan are forced to exploit a huge legal loophole to get their fix, while one of the world's most famous casinos in Monaco forbids locals from playing at all. In the United States, Las Vegas reigns supreme, but Indian reservation casinos across the country are a huge force in the industry as well - despite humble origins. Here are some of the craziest, most interesting facts you probably don't know about the wild world of casinos and gambling.
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    The Founder of FedEx Saved the Company by Gambling in Vegas

    Here's an inspiring story for aspiring gamblers and small business owners: the founder of FedEx saved his floundering company by gambling in Vegas, earning $27,000 in blackjack! The company only had $5,000 in its coffers when Frederick Smith decided to fly to Vegas in 1973 and risk it all. Though this isn't good investment or business advice in general, Smith's gamble paid off, allowing the company to last long enough to raise $11 million and eventually earn its first profits in 1976.
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    The Nevada State Prison Used to Have a Casino for Inmates

    Photo: www78 / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Gambling is such a huge industry in Nevada that even the state prison had a casino inside it for 35 years. That's right: inmates could play blackjack, craps, poker, and even bet on sports inside the "Bullpen," a stone building on the prison's grounds in Carson City from 1932 to 1967. A new warden from California shut it down that year, saying gambling was a "degradation" to the inmates.
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  • 3

    The Numbers on a Roulette Wheel Add Up to 666

    Photo: duncan / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Gambling and superstition go hand-in-hand, so it's not surprising that some mystical properties have been assigned to some popular casino games. The biblical "Number of the Beast" makes an appearance in every casino with a roulette wheel: if you add up all the numbers on the wheel, you get 666! The coincidence, coupled with gambling's knack for ruining lives, has earned the roulette wheel the nickname "The Devil's Wheel."
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    A World War II Vet Won More Than $25 Million Playing Slots

    Most people think the big money at casinos is made at the table games, but there are rare exceptions in which the slot machines pay off the most. Las Vegas World War II veteran Elmer Sherman won a shocking $4.6 million from a slot machine at the Mirage in 1989, but he wasn't content to stop there. Elmer made it his "life's dream" to win another big jackpot. His dream came true in 2005 when he won a whopping $21.1 million at the Cannery!
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